INSEAD | Mr. Indian In Cambodia
GMAT 730, GPA 3.33
Tuck | Mr. Federal Civilian
GMAT 780, GPA 3.4
Stanford GSB | Mr. S.N. Bose Scholar
GMAT 770, GPA 3.84
Duke Fuqua | Mr. O&G Geoscientist
GRE 327, GPA 2.9
Kenan-Flagler | Ms. Big Pharma
GRE 318, GPA 3.3
Chicago Booth | Mr. Indian O&G EPC
GMAT 730, GPA 3.75
Wharton | Ms. Product Manager
GMAT 730, GPA 3.4
Kellogg | Mr. Indian Globetrotter
GMAT 750, GPA 4.0
Berkeley Haas | Ms. Jill Of All Trades
GRE 314, GPA 3.36
Berkeley Haas | Ms. Midwest Startup
GRE 328, GPA 3.51
Wharton | Mr. Big 4
GMAT 770, GPA 8/10
Stanford GSB | Mr. MBB
GMAT 740, GPA 3.95
Wharton | Mr. Swing Big
GRE N/A, GPA 3.1
Stanford GSB | Mr. Big Brother
GRE 329, GPA 3.2
Harvard | Mr. Low GPA Product Manager
GMAT 780, GPA 3.1
Kenan-Flagler | Ms. Nonprofit Admin
GMAT 620, GPA 3.3
Kenan-Flagler | Mr. Top Three
GRE 310, GPA 2.7
Ross | Mr. NCAA to MBB
GMAT 710, GPA 3.2
Kellogg | Mr. 770 Dreamer
GMAT 770, GPA 8.77/10
Tepper | Mr. Tech Strategist
GRE 313, GPA 3.0
Stanford GSB | Mr. JD To MBA
GRE 326, GPA 3.01
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Musician To Consultant
GMAT 710, GPA 1.6
Harvard | Mr. Bangladeshi Analyst
GMAT 690, GPA 3.31
MIT Sloan | Mr. Generic Nerd
GMAT 720, GPA 3.72
Darden | Mr. Military Vet
GMAT 680, GPA 3.5
Duke Fuqua | Ms. ELS
GRE 318, GPA 3.8
Wharton | Mr. Investment Banking
GMAT 750, GPA 3.1

Handicapping Your Elite MBA Odds: Mr. Air Force Captain

male bankerMr. Banker


  • 720 GMAT (49V/42Q)
  • 3.6 GPA (closer to a 3.8 if you exclude freshman year)
  • Undergraduate degree from a prestigious midwest university (think Notre Dame, Northwestern, Michigan or Chicago)
  • Work experience includes three years at a bulge bracket investment bank (not Goldman Sachs) and two years at a mega-investment fund (think Blackstone, KKR, and TPG)
  • Extracurricular involvement in community service in both volunteer and leadership roles since high school
  • Male who was born in India but grew up in the U.S.

Target Schools:

Harvard: 40%

Stanford: 20% to 30%

Wharton: 50%

Sandy’s Analysis: Guys like you get in and dinged from H+S depending on execution, recs, not blowing the interview and luck.

One would like to know what the admit rate at H+S is for the Blackstone, KKR, TPG cohort, but whatever it is, you superficially do not appear to be in the top half of that cohort based on schooling and GMAT, although you are close. The trouble is, it is an ultra-competitive cohort, and while Harvard and Stanford are willing to ‘blink’ at 3.6 and a 720, and often wink at both, why should they do so  in your case?

That is the question. It would really help if you had some X factor to add to the mix, and I am not sure, exactly, what  “community service in both volunteer and leadership roles since high school . . .” means. What we really want to see is some X factor which connects up to your personal narrative and has real impact. That is probably not needed for some woman from KKR or TPG from Princeton with a 3.8 and a 760 GMAT and just normal extras, but that ain’t you, babe.

Guys like you get into Wharton all the time, and unless you know something I don’t, I would strongly suggest applying there. You may get into H or S but I would not be shocked if you did not. The best benchmark is snooping around and seeing how your firm did last year? You might find out that 70 percent of KKR/TPG applicants go into H or S, but on facts presented, you may  NOT be in the top 70 percent of the KKR/TPG cohort.

About The Author

John A. Byrne is the founder and editor-in-chief of C-Change Media, publishers of Poets&Quants and four other higher education websites. He has authored or co-authored more than ten books, including two New York Times bestsellers. John is the former executive editor of Businessweek, editor-in-chief of Businessweek. com, editor-in-chief of Fast Company, and the creator of the first regularly published rankings of business schools. As the co-founder of CentreCourt MBA Festivals, he hopes to meet you at the next MBA event in-person or online.